Missing a 35mm. But with prices so low which one?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by leeturner, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    I sold all of my 35mm kit around 3 years ago, which consisted of various Nikon bodies (F3, F90X, F) and lenses. I moved onto medium format with a Hasselblad and now have a variety of TLRs.

    The other day I was looking through some negs when I realised that I had loads of photos of my eldest daughter but very few of my youngest, and in fact very few of both of them over the past three years. It started me thinking (a rare event as it usually costs me money and I have to lie down afterwards). There was always a 35mm camera somewhere within reach and loaded with film. I realise that I've missed using a 35mm for spontaneous shots and it's time to get another. Plus I still have around 200+ rolls of HP5 in the freezer.

    To my great delight I've noticed that film camera prices have fallen through the floor. But what system? I've been eyeing up the Olympus OM and the Pentax K mount systems. Body requirements - manual focus, built in meter, light, reliable. Lens requirements - 50mm, 28mm, 90/120mm and a macro.

    I could go with Nikon but the prices are still quite high so I've plumped for a discontinued system. What suggestions do you guys have. I don't have time to get to any camera shops plus there aren't any in the vicinity.
     
  2. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Olympus Om-1n MD. Fully manual, mirror lock up, light, small, system has all the lenses you could want.
    If you want to go even cheaper look up a Praktica BX20.
     
  3. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I agree on the OM series. Small,light, reliable and wonderful glass.

    David.
     
  4. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    Andy, funny you should say that. I've got my eye on ebay at the moment. I read that you got your OM off Ebay. What are your opinions of the OM1 as I must admit it looks like the type of camera I'm after.
     
  5. Wayne R. Scott

    Wayne R. Scott Member

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    You definitely do not want an OM system. At least until I finish building my kit. I don't need any more competition:smile:.

    Wayne
     
  6. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Lee, it is now my 'carry everywhere' camera. I love it's simplicity and the fact that ALL controls (aperture, shutter speed, focus) except film speed are around the lens, it makes it a very easy to use camera. The metering is by match needle in the viewfinder, also very simple. Many of the photographs in my gallery were taken with it.
    If I lost my OM-1 then I'd probably replace it with a Nikon FM3A. I like all manual cameras, can't stand battery dependence.
     
  7. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    I think you need a rangefinder. An olympus or canon. a pocket camera. Of course this is in addition to the slr not instead of one.
     
  8. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    Thanks Andy. What are the different designations of OM-1. e.g. OM-1n OM-1n MD etc. and are there major differences in functionality?
     
  9. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    I use a little original Olympus Trip 35 and I'm also looking at an 35RC and SP. Of course this will be in addition to the slr depending on if "She who must be obeyed" finds out. I mean she couldn't believe how cheap my Rollei 2.8C was. No she just didn't believe it!
     
  10. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I have two Oms. An om-10 and an OM-1n MD. The OM-10 is a cheap consumer model with AE only unless you buy the accessory manual adapter.
    The OM-1n MD is a pro camera. MD stands for Motor Drive, which means it has the fittings on the bottom plate to accept the Olympus motor Drive. I think (though I'm not sure) the 'n' designates it as a later model. The first ever model was the Olympus M-1, but Leica kicked up a fuss about the M designation so Olympus changed it to OM.
    If looking for an OM-1 make sure it has the removable motor drive cap still in place, these are very difficult to find if they are missing (see attached scan, the cap on the farleft is the battery compartment, to the right of it is the motor drive cap). Likewise make sure it has the hotshoe. On the OM-1 this is removable and again are quite often missing. I almost never have mine on the camera because I prefer shooting with available light, but I do have it in a safe place.
    The OM-1's only weak point is it requires a no longer available PX625 mercury battery for the meter. You can get round this with either a Wein cell or an MR9 voltage reducing adapter so it'll take easily available SR44 hearing aid batteries.

    Ps. That isn't a huge ding in the baseplate! The scanner made a bright spot look like the Grand Canyon!
     
  11. BruceN

    BruceN Member

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    I like my OM2n's for carry-around cameras because I find that I frequently want the aperture priority mode more than the mirror lock up under those "walking-around" circumstances. When I'm shooting more thoughtfully and using the tripod I almost always go for the OM-1's and use the mirror lock up. This (in combination with good Zuiko glass) is capable of producing negatives (or slides) of amazing sharpness and quality. I've seen 20x24 inch prints from 35mm negatives made using this combination that knocked my socks off. Sure there was some grain, but isn't that supposed to be there? :wink:
     
  12. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Ricoh XR-X [I think that's the non US name either that or XR-M same camera different label]

    Takes K mount Pentax lenses. All the features a person could want and more. Can be very cheap used.

    Not tiny but not huge either. No mirror lockup. Uses AA batteries so easy to feed.

    Spotmeter plus average mode. TTL flash if you want. Flash sync is only 1/100. motorwinder.

    Usually sell for between $30 and $50 including a lens.
     
  13. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    Just having a look around ebay. It looks as though film camera prices have dropped across the board. How does the OM1 compare to a Nikon FM? As you may have seen from my initial question I used to own a lot of Nikon gear and the price of the FM looks to have fallen too.
     
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  15. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Lee,

    Another vote for the OM system. In reality, results from almost any of the high-quality manual 35mm SLR's of twenty or twenty-five years ago will probably be indistinguishable from each other, but the OM's are compact, well-made, and very easy to like.

    Konical
     
  16. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    A nikon F3 is almost free, and mint AI lenses plentiful and cheap. Nothing better.

    AND still the standard, which makes it easy to repair.

    .
     
  17. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    How about AF?

    Well, while you're getting a 35mm system - why not get AF as well - that way you will have something that has a different sort of use from your MF gear and not just in terms of size. I'd say an N90s or maybe even an F4 would be nice with a 50/1.8 AF to start with. Although I use my N90s only with manual lenses, but that's just because 35mm is still my primary system.

    But whatever you get, I'd say it needs to be complemented with a lightweight 35mm rangefinder. The Olympus ones are great the RC is light and manual but the XA, even though it's A-priority only, can't be beat for compactness!

    -A
     
  18. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Oh yeah, beside my OM-1 I usually have my Canon Canonet QL17 GIII.
     
  19. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    F3 - I want one!

    Anyone giving me a Nikon F3 for (almost) free will be greatly appreciated! :D

    Seriously, I have been eyeing an F3 to use with the 6x finder for macro photography - I just can't justify yet another body right now but I would agree it's one good camera.

    -A
     
  20. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    I've owned a F90X and an F3 HP. The F3 is the camera I really regret selling but in hindsight when I sold this equipment I got a really good price compared to todays prices. I primarily used the F90X for motorsports photography and if I'd stayed in that field I would have upgraded to either an F5 or a digital SLR. The one thing I liked about the F3 is that I picked up some lovely cheap AI and AIS primes as well as being able to use the D type Nikon lenses.
    My photography has moved more and more towards b&w and for static subjects (6 & 4 year old girls can never be described as static!) I use my Rolleicord Vb and 'flex 2.8C. I really enjoy the ergonomics of a TLR which is why I eventually sold my 500CM. The problem is that a grab shot is quite difficult, though not impossible, as I have to get the meter out etc. In addition my wife is now showing an interest in photography to complement her painting so I'm looking for a system whereby I can get a couple of bodies for both our use.
    I must admit that I still have an attachment to the Nikon system but economics plays a part as we've recently bought a new house that requires extensive renovation.
    What sort of prices are used SLRs going for at places like Jessops? I've bought and sold a lot of equipment on Ebay but sometimes the bargains can still be found in shops.
     
  21. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Just to offer an alternate take on it - probably the way to get the most for the least in the 35mm SLR market: Canon FD bodies and lenses. If someone called Nikon lenses inexpensive, then these are down right dirt cheap (they do not fit any digigizmos due to Canon's mount change). My suggestion would be the hidden gem of the range, the Canon EF (not to be confused with the EF-M or the EF mount system). This rugged camera is built on a F1 chassis, has a Copal vertical travel shutter (x synch up to 1/125th), mirror lock up, large bright viewfinder, shutter speeds from 1/1000th to 30 seconds (mechanical up to 1 second - so you are not battery dependant). Great camera, usually comes with the wonderful 50mm f1.4SSC lens and seems to have been long overlooked on the market.
    Then you can get a Canonet QL17 GIII to round out the package :smile:


    Peter
     
  22. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    Thanks for all of the replies. Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Ricoh........


    I need to go and lie down in a dark room (with my laptop and ebay).
     
  23. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Here are my random and poorly put together thoughts.

    1) if the kids are moving, the AF might be nice. You had the F90x, so you should know what you are missing if you go all manual, though. I would have suggested an N90 or N90s, as they are pretty cheap these days.

    2) The next toy I would have recommended was the OM-1. My first camera, and I loved it. As you note, they are cheap now. The one drawback I saw was that there wasn't the whole stable of glass as for the nikons. E.g. there isn't as much in wide angle. Reasonably light.

    3) A MF Nikon. If you go back to the AF, then you can use the glass for both. I have the N90 and an FE. The FE is a bit bigger and heavier than the OM, but not that much. The 100mm 2.8 Series E is light, cheap and good. All the older manual focus lenses are available at reasonable prices.

    4) The Canonet is a great toy. I used to keep mine loaded with 3200 speed film. It is quiet and has good glass. I got a lot of shots that no one saw/heard because it is quiet. However, it isn't really that much smaller than an OM1 with a 50mm lens.

    Matt
     
  24. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Matt, the OM lens range includes 18mm, 21mm, 24mm, 28mm lenses. There are also the 8mm and 16mm fisheye lenses, but you'll need a fair bit of cash to buy them!
     
  25. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    First of all, I am offended! A TOY!? Surely you jest?!:D

    Kidding aside, while I really love mine (probably beyond reason), the suggestion of buying one was very much to go along with the EF, which is a wonderful, robust, solid, all metal BRICK. Big and heavy. So a little RF to go along with it... see my point?
    If you go with an Oly, you're right - not much need! Which reminds me - I want one of those too!
     
  26. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Just looked through my 1982 Good Camera Guide edited by Stephen Bayley who was the then technical editor of Amateur Photographer. In terms of value for money in 1982 the Ricoh KR 10 was rated the best value for money. The 50mm lens it came with was rated as superb at 9/10. It uses the Pentax K mount. These cameras are not as common as the ME Super but generally are cheap when advertised. In the Pentax range the ME super was so common that it remains excellent value while the K1000 and LX (especially the LX) have both gained the kind of cult status that makes them much more expensive.

    The Olympus range are all rated highly but again are relatively expensive in comparison with the Ricoh and ME Super.

    With a few exceptions almost all cameras of that time were powered by two 1.5v silver oxide cells. Are these the cells that are difficult to obtain now?

    In the book only the Contax 139 and Minolta XD11/XD7(the letters used depended on where in the world the camera was sold) get 9/10 for camera quality.

    Best of luck

    Pentaxuser